Carers face testing time at Christmas

First published in Letters

Sir.–Most of us are looking forward to taking time off work and relaxing this festive season, but for the UK’s six million carers, Christmas will be a hard, unrelenting struggle, just as it has been all year long.

One in eight of us cares for a disabled or older spouse or family member, and this number is rising rapidly. Many carers provide round-the-clock care for their loved ones, often without any kind of break, with very little support and hardly any recognition of their plight.

We have recently commemorated Carers Rights Day, and I would today like to ask your readers to spare a thought for the invisible army of carers in the South Coast region.

I work for a charity called Vitalise, which runs Netley Waterside House, an accessible respite break centre in Southampton. Each year, we provide thousands of desperatelyneeded respite breaks for people with disabilities and carers.

Our guests often tell us just how important a break is in their lives.

One woman, who cares for her husband who has Parkinson’s disease, said: “Every now and then I just run out of energy and get depressed and stressed out. I need respite so I can recharge and get my strength back.”

We couldn’t do what we do without the generosity of the public and we urgently need your support. To donate, please call 0303 303 0147 or visit vitalise.org.uk –Colin Brook, Vitalise, vitalise.org.uk.

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